These habits are not the habits of “success,” as I always feel that is a misnomer of sorts. Truth be told, you are going to have to have good habits from the outset if you ever want to reach your personal definition of a successful state. Rather, these are more habitual behaviors or mindsets that I feel are crucial to creating the necessary mindset that will get you to where you want to be. As I often say, none of these things are complicated—they just simply need to happen. I will also say that I am not by any means a “success” in this field, at least not by my own standards. But I am trying. And it all goes back to these seven things. I could have done more, but that would have made for a less catchy title.

1. Waking up stupid early.

Real fucking talk. If you want anything in life to happen, you have to make something move, and that means getting that started as soon as possible. That means getting up at 7:00 a.m...or 6:00 a.m...or 5:00 a.m...or earlier if you have to. And getting used to it. I've never known nor studied a single accomplished individual who didn't wake up early (and that's every day). No one gets shit done by waking up at a 10 a.m., taking their time with breakfast, and having a day that starts at noon. If you want to maximize your quantitative experience, then start your day early. If you want waste time, then wake up whenever you like. Just don’t be surprised when you get beaten by someone who put in more time than you did—because it will happen.

2. Working way later than you should.

Yet, another thing you had better get used to. If you really care about your business, then you will likely be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. I've routinely put in 12-hour days working at the gym, and while it gets tiring, it has also gotten me way more hours of experience than if I had done otherwise. And I expect to keep doing this for however long I need to (which is probably awhile). There will always be people with better genetics, more education, and greater gifts. However, I've never fucking cared what anyone else has over me because I will outwork all them for however long it's supposed to take. Rarely do people fail because they devote too much time to something. Aside from actively working to create opportunity, there will also always be instances where someone has the good fortune to simply be the person that showed up first, stayed late, and was in just the right place at just the right time. That does occasionally happen (not that it's something to ever count on), but it arises from you being there in the first place—before and after everyone else.

3. Being tired.

When my father was 44 years old, he started his medial residency. For those unfamiliar with medical school procedures, this is a three-year or more training that physicians go through before they become doctors. He routinely worked 80+ hour weeks and 24-hour shifts almost every week for those three years. In fact, it was during this time that we bought a treadmill and weights so that he could still train without needing to go the gym. That’s called dedication. I recall him coming home once after working a 36-hour shift in the emergency room. He came in the door, hugged us, and said, “I'm pretty tired.” And he really was tired because he’d been awake for 36 goddamn hours straight while being literally responsible for people living and dying. Hence, from that day on my sympathy for people complaining that they are tired because they worked 9-to-5 is approximately fucking zero. If you get five or more hours of sleep a night, then you have lost the right to complain about not sleeping enough. And if you devote enough time to something you care about, then it will make you tired. Your job, marriage, kids, career, relationship, training...just pick one. At times your sleep will suffer...and badly. And you will run on coffee and energy drinks...but it will be worth it at the end. So, get comfortable with being tired and uncomfortable. I'm not advising that you live this way forever, but at times, it will be completely necessary for what you want to have happen.

4. Putting up with bullshit and/or dumbasses.

This sure isn't an encouraging list is it? However, no one gets through life bullshit-free, at least no one who has done anything worthwhile. You will have bosses you hate, coworkers that give your whole industry a bad name, and team members who are disrespectful assholes. You will also be forced to endure all manner of incompetency, pointless meetings and trainings, backstabbing, lawsuits, work politics, petty bullshit over who said what, and every other eye-stabbing irritation you can think of. And it never ends because the more successful you become, the more aware you will be of how screwed everything can be. So, you have three options:

  1.  You can either choose to let this bother you and be angry constantly.
  2. You can be apathetic and say, "to hell with it" and let mediocrity rule.
  3. You can learn to let go of things you cant affect, do what you can, and do your damnedest to do the right things, make things work, and accept that people are people and that the bullshit and the obstacles are what make you better over everything else.

So, if you really want to be successful, go with the third option. Notice that it takes the longest and requires far more effort than the other two—and for good reason.

5. Out-learning everyone around you. (This means reading)

More education never hurt anyone’s job prospects. (Paraphrased from Jennifer Petrosino). Neither did more books, more research, and more time spent learning. Time will give you experience, and education will give you perspective. This doesn't have to be strictly academic, but it better be something. The day you stop learning is the day you steadily start working to become irrelevant. Anything that might be relative to what you do: read it, watch it, learn it, work with that expert person, and find a way to gain greater perspective. Knowledge is value, and the most well-respected people in a field are the ones who simply “know more" compared to everyone else—and they didn't get there by proclaiming the superiority of what they know and refusing to hear otherwise. Learning never stops, and it becomes more and more important the higher you go.

6. Knowing that this is going to take awhile.

Things are going to take as long as they are supposed to take—not how long you want them to take. Again, this will be repeated across your career, training, relationships, and pretty much the entirety of your human experience. So, you had better learn to enjoy the process; otherwise, this going to be a highly unpleasant experience. As I've said in the past, nothing that comes easy is worth having, and anything quickly gained is quickly lost. So appreciate the time.

7. Failing forward

You’re going to fail...a lot. And sometimes really badly. There are different ways of failing, and I can't readily say that everything can be well handled (as there will be times when you royally fuck up). The best piece advice I could give is to fail forward. Somehow fail ahead of where you started. Learn everything you can from it and work to end up ahead. Sometimes you fail sideways. Without going into great detail, I had to essentially restart my whole career a year ago due to my screwing up. At the time, it seemed like a setback, but I ended up ahead of where I was then. Success is not a straight path—sometimes going sideways gives you the perspective to move back to where you need to be. So long as you have the resolve to get through it, it will be worthwhile in the end.

So there you have it. I could have readily added more, but some things need to be said to the point. Work more, endure more, read more, learn more, be more. Enjoy it. And don’t be afraid when stuff falls apart. If you've been working and learning, then you’ll have some idea of how to put it back together better than before. And please please, please—don’t ever complain that you are tired.